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Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones Nearing Manchester United Return

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United warms up prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2013

Manchester United have been handed a major boost with news that the trio of Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones are close to regaining full fitness.

None of the three featured in United's 2-2 draw at Cardiff City over the weekend, but they are hoping to make their returns in the coming week, according to Richard Jolly of ESPN.

Jolly writes that David Moyes could have all three of his stars back in time to face Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday. The trip to Germany is a potential decider on if and how the Red Devils qualify for the Champions League's knockout stages.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United is helped from the pitch after sustaining an injury during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, E
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In the wake of his team's draw in South Wales over the weekend, Moyes is reported by Jolly saying:

I don't think he (Jones) is as bad as we first thought. He's not too far away. It's a groin injury, right up his hip.

Robin (van Persie's) groin is the problem at the moment; his toes are much better. We are hoping to get both Nemanja and Robin back as soon as we can. I hope they'll be in contention for Wednesday but I couldn’t give a definitive answer.

Moyes adds that Shinji Kagawa picked up some bruising on his foot while on international duty with Japan, but says that "it's not too bad."

Jones will be of particular significance in Leverkusen should he recover in time, with Michael Carrick injured and Marouane Fellaini suspended after picking up his first red card for Manchester United in the 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad.

Moyes' main central options in Jones' absence would then be Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverley, but the former Blackburn defender has proven to be a valuable anchor in that position.

Van Persie would also be a welcome return, having scored against Sami Hyypia's side at Old Trafford in September.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  Phil Jones of Manchester United is fouled by Marc Wilson of Stoke City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on October 26, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

United currently lead Group A but are just a single point ahead of Bayer Leverkusen in second, and three points ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk in third.

As their penultimate group encounter, a win in Germany this week would be enough to guarantee United a place in the next stage of the tournament.  

Having won 4-2 in the reverse fixture, it certainly isn't outside the team's reach to replicate that achievement, but the return of the aforementioned trio would certainly make for smoother sailing. 

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